Press zooms in on extension of university teachers strike by four weeks, others

APA– Lagos The four-week extension of the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday. The Punch reports that the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday announced the extension of its ongoing strike by four weeks. “The roll-over strike action is with effect from 12.01…

APA – Lagos (Nigeria) The four-week extension of the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.

The Punch reports that the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday announced the extension of its ongoing strike by four weeks.

The union’s President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, disclosed this in a statement made available to The PUNCH.

According to Osodeke, the decision was to give the government enough time to resolve all outstanding issues with the lecturers.

The statement read, “Following extensive deliberations and taking cognisance of the government’s past failure to abide by its own timelines in addressing issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action, the NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for four weeks to give the government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues.

“The roll-over strike action is with effect from 12.01am on Monday, August 1, 2022,” the statement read.

The PUNCH reports that ASUU on Monday, February 14, 2022, announced the commencement of a strike over the failure of the government to meet lingering demands of the union.

Speaking further in the statement, ASUU said, “NEC viewed with seriousness the recent directive given by the President and Visitor to all Federal Universities that the Minister of Education, in consultation with other government officials, should resolve the lingering crisis and report to him within two weeks.

The newspaper says that the Federal Government on Monday insisted that it had not raised the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, above the regulated cost of N165/litre.

It said the hike in the cost of the commodity, currently between N175/litre and N230/litre, depending on the location of purchase, was done by oil marketers. The government, however, could not explain why it was not enforcing the approved price.

Oil marketers across the country recently raised the price of petrol above the approved N165/litre rate without any official approval by the government. This was despite the fact that the cost of commodity was still being regulated.

The marketers had argued that the N165/litre approved price was not sustainable and was contributory to the scarcity of petrol in many locations nationwide.

They eventually hiked the pump price of petrol and had maintained the price increase for several weeks running without any resistance by the government.

Speaking on the sidelines of the stakeholders’ consultation forum on Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulations organised by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority in Abuja, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, insisted the government had not raised the price of PMS.

Asked to comment on the disparity in the pump prices of petrol and why the government had not waded into the matter, the minister said, “Well, I can tell you authoritatively that we have not deregulated.

The Punch also reports that the police have mobilised to foil plans by terrorists to attack the southern part of the country sequel to the infiltration of the region by suspected Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province terrorists.

As part of the strategies to prevent terrorists’ attacks, the police chiefs in Lagos met on Monday just as the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps warned Nigerians against employing fleeing terrorists.

Also, it was gathered that police and the Department of State Services had deployed detectives to fish out fleeing terrorists in the South.

This followed the arrest of a suspected Boko Haram commander working as a security guard at a residential building in the Ijaiye area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Saturday.

The arrest of the Boko Haram commander has triggered a flurry of emergency security meetings by law enforcement agencies in Lagos and Ogun states, and apprehension among residents in the southern part of the country.

The development is coming on the heels of the July 5 attack on the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre, Abuja, where 69 Boko Haram commanders were freed by the Islamic State West Africa Province.

The Guardian reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday, suspended the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, despite pleas by Nigerians and relevant stakeholders urging the electoral body to extend the deadline.

The Guardian observed that the commission’s portal was no longer accessible to new users as a notice reads: “The CVR exercise has been suspended. Access to log-in to check the status of your completed applications will soon be restored.”

The commission had declared that the exercises would officially end on July 31, 2022.

But a group, Khamis Darazo Movement, called on INEC to consider further extension of the registration, to allow more youths to exercise their franchise.

The leader of the Movement, Khamis Musa, speaking after a rally in Bauchi, yesterday, said hundreds of youths in Bauchi and Gombe States were yet to register, as a result of bottlenecks at the registration points.

Also, the Nasarawa State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) appealed to INEC to extend the exercise.

State Chairman, Rev. Dr. Sunday Emmah, made the appeal in an exclusive interview with The Guardian in Lafia, the state capital.

He argued that since more people are still showing readiness to obtain voter cards, INEC should deploy more machines to register eligible voters.

He said: “We have embarked on aggressive voter registration and sensitisation across the 13 local governments in the state. It would amount to frustration if people, in response, are ready to participate in voting but cannot obtain a card.

“Why is INEC in a hurry to close registration, when it is its sole responsibility to register eligible voters? INEC can double up its effort to ensure everything is put in order before the general elections.”

The newspaper says that a frontline economist and Chief Executive of B. Adedipe Associates Limited, Dr. ‘Biodun Adedipe, says Nigeria’s inflation rates will remain below 20 per cent by the end of the year despite the pressure on prices and other headwinds.

He gave the projection at the mid-year review of the economic outlook, a joint think-tank event of the consulting firm and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Concern over fast-rising prices has taken a new turn in the past few months with the consumer price index (CPI) hitting 18.6 per cent in June. Domestic inflation, which predates the recent global crisis, now mimics the general trend.

Adedipe admits that there are enormous local and international challenges most of which are positively correlated, but he is confident that the country will end the year with less than a 20 per cent inflation rate.

He also expects the price pressure to compel the monetary authority to sustain its aggressive liquidity tightening and devalue the naira. Its projection came shortly before last week’s renewed crisis that saw the local currency breaking the N700/$ mark resistance.

According to his presentation, money market rates will remain low, keeping domestic investors in the stock market just as foreign investors “are likely to be still tentative until COVID-19 and Ukrainian war concerns subside”.

GIK/APA

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